The Root Chakra
The Root Chakra is the first of the lower chakras; which also includes the sacral and solar plexus chakras. The lower chakras govern the physical and emotional aspects of our identity and our relationship to the physical world around us. These chakras are associated with worldly things that are more primal and instinctive in nature.
Name, Symbol & Meaning
Muladhara is the Sanskrit term for the root chakra. It is derived from mula – “root” and adhara– “base” or “foundation”. The root chakra is also referred to as the survival center or the root center. The root chakra is our foundation and it determines our capacity to reach our full potential and so is strongly associated with our basic needs – we cannot reach our full potential if our basic needs (food, shelter, sleep, self-preservation) are not met.
The root chakra symbol consists of a red four-petal lotus flower within which lays a square and an inverted equilateral triangle and is governed by the element of earth and is ruled by the Hindu deity Lord Shiva; the god of destruction, dissolution, regeneration and vitality.
The red colour of this chakra, in Hindu religion, represents the colour of Shakti, which has many associations and meanings including: the female counterpart of a god, power (in Sanskrit), energy or creative force, movement (away from animalistic tendencies towards human conscious evolution), evolution and awakening. So, it follows that the Muladhara is considered to be the birth of human consciousness, the initiation point of self-awareness and the potentiality of conscious spiritual transformation.
The four petals on the lotus each represent a key aspect of the human psyche, which are:
· Mind (Manas)
· Intellect (Buddhi)
· Consciousness (Chitta)
· Ego (Ahamkara)
The square is one of the most widely recognized shapes and because of this it can be said that it is a shape that we ‘trust’ and on a deeply psychological level can invoke feelings of safety. This basic, geometric 4-sided shape represents solidity, stability, earth, materiality and physicality.
Finally, the inverted triangle represents the directional movement of knowledge – the “seeding” of consciousness into the Muladhara chakra from which spiritual awakening blooms. It represents the embodiment (or physical manifestation) of the soul or human consciousness.
The Root Chakra & the Physical Body
The root chakra is a 3-dimensional center of energy, and within the body, the energetic center of this chakra is located at the base of the spine at the perineum (for men) or the posterior side of the cervix (for women). The locations of each chakra within the human body is shown here.
Associations, Functions & Characteristics
Seed (Bij) Sound:“LAM”
Developmental Stage:Gestation (womb) to 12 months old.
Key Themes: survival, self-preservation, trust, material safety, security, stability, physicality, grounding, support, genetic inheritance, ancestral memories (eg. war, famine, natural disasters).
Physical Association: the skeletal and muscular systems, large intestine, colon, rectum, pelvis, kidneys, blood, legs & feet.
Imbalance in the Muladhara chakra can take place as early as infanthood when we are determining our trust in the world around us and establishing our foundations. Any traumas and negative experiences during our early childhood can have a significant effect on the Muladhara chakra and are likely to cause an imbalance. For example, due to its association with the adrenal glands, which control our stress response, the condition of the Muladhara chakra can determine how we respond to danger (the fight or flight response). These experiences will strongly influence our perception of the world and be a frame upon which we build our personal values which ultimately dictates our actions later in life when we begin to make our own conscious decisions.
Physical Effects of Muladhara Chakra Imbalance:
· Skeletal problems/disease;
· Back pain;
· Muscle tension;
· Colon ailments;
· Disease associated with the blood (plasma, red and white blood cells);
· Kidney and bladder problems/disease;
· Physical imbalance (often issues with feet, legs, spine/gait).
Emotional, Psychological & Spiritual Effects of Muladhara Chakra Imbalance:
· (Irrational) Fear;
· Excessive negativity or cynicism;
· Eating disorders;
· Lack of trust in others and in one’s environment to support them;
· Excessive feeling of insecurity;
· Inability to make ends meet (constantly living in survival mode);
· Overspending – money, energy, time;
· Inability to make or hold a commitment;
· Feelings of powerlessness;
· Over-dependency or attachment to people who project a sense of security;
· Poor boundary-setting.
Using affirmations during meditation or any other mindfulness practice is an effective way to address root chakra issues and imbalance. Any affirmations that include any of the themes associated with the root chakra will work. Here are a few examples that you can use:
Ø I am stable and secure;
Ø I release all my doubts, worries and fears;
Ø My needs are easily met;
Ø I have everything I need.
Asana for the Root Chakra
There are many yoga asana that can be practiced, which target the root chakra. My favourite pose to practice to work on my root chakra is balasana (child’s pose) it’s a great pose that allows your body to melt into the ground and feel what it's like to let go and be supported by the earth beneath you. The idea in this pose is to trust and surrender.
Balasana step-by-step instructions:
Begin on your hands and knees with your toes pointing behind you (un-tucked). Centre your breath, and turn your awareness inward.
Spread your knees wide apart while bringing your big toes to touch. Rest your buttocks on your heels - those with very tight hips can keep their knees and thighs together.
Sit up straight and lengthen your spine up through the crown of your head.
On your exhalation, bow forward to lower your torso between your thighs. Your heart and chest should rest between or on top of your thighs. Allow your forehead to come to the floor.
Keep your arms long and extended, palms facing down. Press back slightly with your hands to keep your buttocks in contact with your heels. Lengthen from your hips to your armpits, and then extend even further through your fingertips. For deeper relaxation, bring your arms back to rest alongside your thighs with your palms facing up. Completely relax your elbows.
Let your upper back broaden. Soften and relax your lower back. Release all tension in your shoulders, arms, and neck.
Keep your gaze drawn inward with your eyes closed.
Hold for up to a minute or longer, breathing softly.
To release the pose, gently use your hands to walk your torso upright to sit back on your heels.
Disclaimer:The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.